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NON-FICTION PAGE - Spring 2011
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ENCHANTED ONE

 

 

 

Sheila Applegate

 

Enchanted One

 

[Publisher’s Note:  Enchanted One is a very personal and spiritual journey that the author, Sheila Applegate, has decided to share with the public.  She articulates her re-discovery of self, and relationship with divinity through a process that may challenge us.  There may be some of us who acknowledge life only within the confines of this Earth and the scientifically accepted physical universe with no recognition or acceptance of a higher power.  Regardless, the excerpts from her manuscript reveal Sheila’s profound acceptance, openness, and reconciliation with the Powers that define and guide her life.  She has invited us to witness and travel on her journey.  Explore her words.]
 

CHAPTER 1: (Excerpts)
LOVE 

Loving Unconditionally


As humans, we all want to be loved.  This is really our ultimate quest here on Earth:  To explore love, to learn to embrace the giving and receiving of this sacred energy.  It seems like such a simple quest, and yet we work so hard to achieve it.  Why? 

We are actually born knowing how to love completely and unconditionally, and then the next several years are spent forgetting as we are trained in a life of conditional love.  Hopefully, if we are one of the lucky ones, we come to a point where we wake up and once again begin the quest back to the innocence and truth of our ability to love beyond form, beyond condition. 

From early childhood, we are programmed to doubt, fear, resist, and ask, “What’s in it for me?”  When I was a child and my mother wanted me to do something—clean the living room, for example—I would ask, “What will you give me for it?”  She would say, “A kiss,” in an almost teasing way.  She was trying to point out that I should just help because I loved her and we were a family, and yet at the same time she offered me a reward, and not even one I wanted.  The energy of that offer was conditional love.  “You do this for me, and I will give you love.”  In this case, it was a playful game that she played with us, and yet in life we are bombarded by many subtle messages that teach us to love conditionally.  In our society, love is about meeting each other’s needs, and if you don’t meet each other’s needs, then you must not really love each other.       

But what if we, as individuals, learned to meet our own needs?  What if we learned how to become full and complete beings who are filled with the love of God, Creator, All That Is?  What if we reached a point where we didn’t need people to fill our needs but rather all we wanted people for was to share this beautiful experience with them?  What if we reached that point where we could embrace the full spectrum of emotions...yes, even anger, fear, and pain...while remaining in the bliss of love?  It is possible.  Look at an infant and remember.

The other day, I opened a fortune cookie and read it out loud.  It said, “Everything ends.”  My son instantly responded with, “That’s not true, Love never ends!”  From a child’s lips, so trusting, so simple, so true.  What if we really believed that?  What would our lives be like if we believed that?  We would be safe to love and, in that space, to be filled with joy.  Love never ends.  The whole rest of the morning, I was singing in my head a variation of a nursery school song:  “This is the love that never ends…it just goes on and on my friend…some people started feeling it not knowing what it was…and they’ll continue feeling it forever just because…this is the love that never ends…it just goes on and on my friend….” 

Love is simple.  Living in unconditional love is our natural state, so why do we work so hard at it?  Last night, I was running a meditation and two little girls were in the group.  I explained to them that we were going to hear a story and that our imaginations would lead us on a beautiful journey.  I also explained that, because there were a lot of grown-ups in the room who had forgotten how to imagine, we would have to take our time and explain things to them because they were working very hard to get back to the place where children are naturally.  One of the little girls looked into my eyes, and I knew she understood.  In that moment, I asked her if she would make me a promise to use her imagination as she grew up so that she would not have to come back later and re-learn how to do what she already knew now.  She looked me deep in the eyes and made a promise that I know she will remember.  I could feel it all through her, and different points in her life flashed before me, points in her life as she grew when that simple moment would return to her and she would remember. 

Re-member, when we are learning, searching, clearing, healing, seeking...we are simply in the act of re-membering, returning to the awareness that we are one with All That Is, part of the ever-moving flow of pure, sacred, unconditional love.  Everything else is an illusion.  If you are a parent, a grandparent, a teacher, an aunt, an uncle, or a neighbor of a child, make it your vow to create the space for the children of today to live in this Truth.  Teach them love instead of fear, and this world will become an oasis of peace.  It is that simple.

Loving Myself   

The best place to start loving is the one place most of us avoid at all costs.  Love yourself!  Fall in love with yourself!  Have a love affair with yourself!

Look in the mirror...right now…go look in the mirror.  Look at yourself for five minutes, and then come back and read the next paragraph.  If you read ahead, you will never be able to get this moment back because you will know what I am going to say, so take the time, the risk, and the energy to give this a try before reading on. 

Now that you’ve taken the time and looked in the mirror for five minutes, ask yourself the following questions about your experience:  How comfortable was I looking at myself?  Which did I notice first, the things I like about myself or the things I think of as my flaws?  Could I even see my beauty?  Could I see things that I perceived as flaws?

How you perceived yourself in the mirror will give you an idea of how well you are able to love yourself as a reflection of God on Earth.  But it is also more than that.  How you looked at yourself has everything to do with how you show up in your relationships.  All of our relationships are mirrors of our own personal truth, and so if we believe we are beautiful and love ourselves, we will see that same love reflected back to us in the people who are in our lives.  If we look for the beauty in ourselves first, we will look for—and find—the beauty in others and in our situations.  If we are looking for our flaws, chances are that is what we will find in others.

Loving ourselves is not a concept that we are taught to embrace.  How many times have you seen this scenario in one form or another:  Someone tells a young child, “You are so beautiful/smart/loving/strong.”  The child answers, “I know,”and the adult suddenly turns red cheeked and giggles nervously, telling the child, “You shouldn’t say that,” or, “Don’t be vain.”  We are taught from such a young age that to claim our strengths is vain.  In a sense, we are taught to be ashamed of knowing how wonderful we are.  We knew this truth as children, and we can get back there as adults.

The first step in the path back to our truth is to notice the dust that has piled up on us during these years of living in our illusion.  We have to open our eyes to the awareness of how much of that illusion we have bought into simply by being human.  We begin with self exploration and awareness.  Start to open your eyes and ask yourself, “Who are you?”  “What do you like?"  “What do you believe?”  “Why do you believe these things?”  So many times, we take on belief systems in our childhood without even realizing that we have done so.  No one intends to reduce children with limiting belief systems; we simply pass on what we “know.”  But if we don’t take the time to really consider what we “know," then we are simply passing down old belief systems without allowing them to change.  The best gift we can give ourselves is the gift of exploring our truth.  Life is about change, and if we hold on to a belief system that is outdated we are not allowing ourselves to be in the flow of life.

Parents have labeled the developmental stages of two and three year-olds, “the terrible twos” and “the trying threes.”  That is a powerful belief system that has been passed down from generation to generation without even a second thought.  Two-year-olds are known to test; they are exploring their world and testing their limits.  They question authority and express their full spectrum of emotions with passion.  And we call that the “terrible twos.”  Three-year-olds question everything.  “Why?” comes out of their mouths so often that even the most aware mother resorts to “just because!” out of pure exhaustion.  And so we call that the “trying threes.”  It’s ironic that we’ve labeled such an early stage of development as something “negative,” because that’s the exact stage we need to go back to in order to re-claim our truth:  We have to become “as little children.” 

The first step in our self-awareness is to question everything; don’t take anything for granted.  Don't assume that any of your beliefs are set in stone.  It can be exhausting and even a bit unnerving in the beginning, just as it is with the “trying threes,” but you will soon find that you are falling in love with yourself as you wipe away the dust and see once again the shining gem beneath the surface.

Self-awareness on this level is only the first step.  This self-awareness is the awareness of yourself as a human being.  You are stripping away the layers of dust and tarnish that you were not even aware had built up on your psyche.  Once you start to see the treasure that is beneath the surface, you begin to re-member that you are a piece of God's divine creation.  Now is the time to reconnect yourself to that truth. 

As you begin to follow your path to One-ness, you seek out your higher power by whatever name resonates with you.  There are many paths to the truth and many ways of describing it on Earth, so follow that which resonates with you….whatever path you take, whatever language you use, whatever story you resonate with, you will find the truth.  If you are seeking love, you will find love.  Even if you are not seeking love, you will find love because Love is All There Is.

For me, the journey to this awareness consisted of many different techniques and stories.  It was important to me from a very young age to incorporate many different religions:  I understood God on a personal level, and I knew that the loving God who filled my life would not exclude anyone seeking that Love.  And so, from a young age, I sought out the truth in every religion that I came across.  I found that in each religion I explored there was Love, which to me is a reflection of God, and there was fear, which is a reflection of the human illusion of separateness.  I made love my quest.  I discovered that guided meditations helped me reconnect directly with the beings of light that reflect love.  I learned to “reconnect” to my I AM presence, or higher self, expanding my vibration, clearing the dust of my humanness and remembering my Oneness.  Through prayer, meditation, surrender, and partnership, I cleared the dust of illusion from my surface and became once again a mirror of Divine Love, a pure refection of God's Love in human form. 

The following is a journal entry that captures a moment in my journey when I fell in love with Love itself. 

I Fell Head Over Heels in Love Again
 
It started on Wednesday at the beach, and then on Thursday morning we took a dolphin-watch boat ride…and that is when it overtook me.  I was standing on the bow of the boat, sea wind in my hair, the taste of salt on my lips, the sky filled with the bright sun and puffy white clouds, the shoreline of Victorian homes and hotels on the horizon…and suddenly I was overtaken.

It started with butterflies in my tummy and rose to a complete explosion in my heart, as I fell head over heels in love with God again…the love was so huge it overtook me…. I was exploding with such unconditional love, I knew all of creation could hear me, and I could hear all of creation…

Then I called out to the dolphins…everyone was waiting to see them…and I sent out a vibration from my heart, and I felt them respond.  I knew in my heart they were coming, and within a minute three separate pods of dolphins came swimming in, jumping and dancing in the water all around us, coming so close to the boat we could see the droplets of water on their skin…and my heart burst with even greater adoration for my Creator.  

Everything I face on Earth is perfection, and I want for nothing…this is my only truth.

 

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